Study: Display Ads Send Consumers Searching

Online display advertising appears to have a significant impact on consumer search behavior, according to a study Yahoo! plans to release today.

For the report, Yahoo! conducted a three-week study of the search behavior of about 2 million consumers, half of whom were served Harrisdirect's display ads (standard rectangles and skyscrapers), and half of whom were not. Dynamic Logic collected the responses to display advertising, while the Yahoo! internal research team examined the search behavior.

The consumers who were served display ads conducted 61 percent more searches on keywords related to Harrisdirect--that is, those keywords purchased by Harrisdirect for search marketing purposes. Also, the group that was served the display ads clicked through on Harrisdirect-related terms at a rate 249 percent higher than consumers who were not exposed to the ads, and clicked on links leading to the Harrisdirect site at a rate 139 percent higher than those not served display ads.

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Richard Kosinski, category development officer for financial services sales at Yahoo!, said the company plans to further study the relationship between search and display advertising. "Because the marketers we work with have so much riding on the investments they make, this study was the first of many we plan to conduct across different verticals to examine exactly what impact display and search advertising have on each other," said Kosinski.

A Yahoo! spokesman also said the company wasn't yet ready to draw any general conclusions about the relationship between consumer search behavior and display ads.

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